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I think by now it’s pretty clear that I’m a fan of both beer and books, but so far I haven’t spent much time looking at how these two things intersect.  For today’s post I wanted to take a look at five establishments I’ve come across in my reading over the past few years where I wouldn’t mind grabbing a drink or two.  I was initially tempted to call this a top five list, but quickly thought better of it. I’m sure there are a whole lot more I’m going to think of as soon as I hit publish!  Just means I will have to make a Part 2 someday.

Golden Perch Inn (The Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R. Tolkien)

This is a no doubt top choice of mine even though it may not be as recognizable as some of the other entries on this list.  Soon after the Hobbits leave the Shire, Pippin laments the fact they will be unable to stop at this particular pub, which he claims boasts the best beer in Eastfarthing.  That alone is enough to get my attention, but what really puts this place over the top is that you’d be drinking in the company of Hobbits. Let’s face it, Tolkien makes it clear these guys (with the exception of those nasty Sackville-Bagginses) like to party.  Considering their days scheduled around six official meals, a love of festivals, and an abundance of “pipe weed,” Hobbits and good beer sound like an experience not to be missed.

Milliways (The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, by Douglas Adams)

Thanks to the wonders of time travel and the power of compound interest, adventurous space travelers can dine in the absolute highest luxury imaginable at no immediate cost to themselves and watch the greatest show in the galaxy – its end – on a nightly basis.  I don’t think any mention was ever made of a beer list, but I’d happily try out a few Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters and watch the show. Besides you never who you might spot here; renegade galactic presidents, thunder gods, or even your favorite long-lost paranoid android.

Three Broomsticks (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by J.K Rowling)

As a muggle I’d probably need a really convincing fake ID to get in the door, but I think it would be well worth the effort.  Sure I’ve been to the replica version at Universal Studios, but that’s not really quite the same now, is it? Imagine the fun one could have sipping on Butterbeer and Firewhiskey while soaking in the magical surroundings before hitting up Zonko’s Joke Shop.  And if all else fails, you could always making make a drinking game out of watching Hogwarts students on awkward dates.

The Empress (The Empress of Mars, by Kage Baker)

What better way to pass the time on the sleepy Mars colony than by grabbing a seat at the planet’s first (and only) brewery?  In addition to checking out the establishment’s surprisingly diverse tap list, you’d also have a front row seat to all the local intrigues and shenanigans currently occupying the colonists.  Making a friend of Mary Griffith, the fiercely determined owner and brewmaster, wouldn’t be such a bad move either since one way or another she has a hand in most aspects of the colony’s daily happenings.  

Cicero’s (Hyperion, by Dan Simmons)

This list needed a dive bar and by all accounts Cicero’s fits the bill perfectly.  Having gradually expanded across four dilapidated buildings along the Hoolie River in Hyperion’s capital city of Keats, the bar was known for its smoky interior, low ceilings, and steady supply of background noise.  The proprietor apparently had a thing for vintage Earth ales though to be honest that prospect sounded pretty hit or miss at best. It’s the sort of place you’d really just end up at to grab a beverage (or five) while preparing to do whatever it is that brought you out to the planet.  Just hope the Shrike monster is contained while you do it.